Tuesday, May 24, 2016

MDE has been very good to a deputy superintendent

It appears Deputy State Superintendent Dr. John Q. Porter has fed quite well at the public trough over the last few years.  The State Board of Education hired Dr. Porter at a salary of $195,000 in May, 2015.  State Auditor Stacey Pickering told Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright the salary was illegal since it exceeded 150% of the Governor's salary.  However, Dr. Porter made a nice sum of money through no-bid contracts awarded behind closed doors before he was hired.

The State Board of Education hired Dr. Carey Wright in September, 2013. Dr. Porter followed her to Mississippi six months later.  However, he was not hired as a Deputy Superintendent until May 21, 2015.  Dr. Porter made his money the Mississippi way.   The Board  awarded several consulting contracts worth $293,404 to Dr. Porter and his company, Blue Sky Innovative Solutions, LLC.  The Board approved every contract in executive session.  The Board finally voted in executive session to hire Dr. Porter as the Deputy Superintendent at a salary of $195,000 - after Dr. Porter wrote the job notice and screened all applicants himself.

A review of minutes (all are posted below) and the MDE website reveal the following actions regarding Mr. Porter, Mr. Stokes, and Blue Sky:

*May 15-16, 2014.  The Board approved a contract modification for Blue Sky.  The term of the contract ran from March 12, 2014 to June 30, 2014.  The modification increased the contract from $29,050 to $98,450 ($69,450 increase.).  The modification was approved in executive session on a vote of 7-0.  Board member Rosemary Aultman moved to modify the contract.  Blue Sky was to perform an "organizational review of the Office of Management Information Services."  JJ could not find an approval for the contract in the 2014 minutes.

*June 19-20, 2014.  The board votes 7-0 (on a motion by Rosemary Aultman) to approve a $98,500 consulting contract for Blue Sky.  The term is July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.  The contract was approved in executive session.

*August 21, 2014.  Dr. Porter represents MDE at a meeting of the board of the Mississippi Information Technology Systems.

*January 15, 2015.  The board votes 7-0 in executive session to hire Dr. Porter to provide consulting services to review the Office of Technology and Strategic Services for $96,454.  The board voted 7-0 to hire Elton Stokes, Jr. for the same purpose for $93,009.  Rosemary Aultman made all motions.  Are you people getting all of this?

*May 21, 2015. FINALLY!!!  The board votes 7-0 in executive session to hire Dr. Porter as the Chief Information Officer (Deputy Superintendent) at a salary of $195,000

*Unknown date: MDE posts a position announcement for Deputy State Superintendent (Chief Information Officer). The salary range is $128,033-$224,058,80.  The salary of $224,058 is 183% more than the Governor's salary of $122,160.  State Auditor Stacey Pickering told Dr. Wright last week that state law limited the salary of a deputy superintendent to 150% of the Governor's salary. Earlier post with copy of State Auditor's letter. The notice directs "Applicants for the position must apply online at www.mspb.ms.gov. (Inquiries may be made to Dr. John Q. Porter, Interim CIO, at 601-359-3487.)"

Dr. Porter has a somewhat checkered past as he was run out of Oklahoma City and Montgomery County (Md).  The Broad Report is a good place to start reading about his history.  

Here are screenshots of his LinkedIn resume. Click on images to enlarge.

Mr. Stokes works for Dr. Porter at Blue Sky and followed the Wright train to Mississippi.  This story is developing.  Updates will be posted.


Anonymous said...

Set the hook!

Reel 'em in!


Summary of State Board of Education Agenda Items
Consent Agenda
October 15, 2015
Approval to modify contract with Elton Stokes, Jr. to continue work on
Governance Strateqv and assisting with the implementation and monitoring of
the data warehouse system
Awarded Vendor: Elton Stokes. Jr.
Waldorf, Maryland
Scope of Proiect: Mr. Stokes will continue with the modernization and
coordination of MSIS, assist in the implementation and monitoring of the data
warehouse system, and provide management coaching.
Personnel associated with this contract are not former Department employees or
related to any Department employees.
Sco e of Contract:
° Term of Current Contract: July 1, 2015 — December 31, 2015
- Term of Modified Contract: July 1, 2015 — June 30, 2016
- Cost of Original Contract: $ 48,054.96
' Modification Increase: $ 25,577.64
0 Total Cost of Modified Contract $ 73,632,650
- Method of Award: Pool of Service Providers
Funding Source: State funds
Recommendation: Approval

Anonymous said...

Uh oh!


Page 5
Mississippi Board of Education — Minutes
Page 5
October 15, 2015

A. Monthly contracts with former State Employees receiving retirement
benefits (Todd Ivey)
B. Cut score for Mississippi Alternate Assessment of Extended Science
Frameworks (MAAESF) [Goal 1 - MDE Strategic Plan]
(Has cleared the Administrative Procedures Act process with no public
comments) (J. P. Beaudoin)
C. Modify contract with Elton Stokes, Jr. to continue work on Governance Strategy and assisting with the implementation and monitoring of the data warehouse system (John Q. Porter)

11. On a motion by Dr. Jason S. Dean, seconded by Mr. Johnny Franklin, the Board unanimously approved the following consent items: A, B, and C
(copy attached).
A. Monthly contracts with former State Employees receiving retirement
(Office of Chief Operations Officer)
B. Cut score for Mississippi Alternate Assessment of Extended Science
Frameworks (MAAESF) [Goal 1 — MDE Strategic Plan]
(Has cleared the Administrative Procedures Act process with no public
comments) (Office of Chief Research and Development Officer)

Mississippi Board of Education — Minutes
Page 7
October 15, 2015
C. Modify contract with Elton Stokes, Jr. to continue work on Governance Strategy and assisting with the implementation and monitoring of the data warehouse system (Office of Chief Information Officer)

Anonymous said...

"0 Total Cost of Modified Contract $ 73,632,650"

What, exactly, are we taxpayers getting for our hard-earned 73 million dollars and change?

Anonymous said...

That was a typo in a cached page apparently.

"Total Cost of Modified Contract $73,632.60"

Anonymous said...

Stacie knows a little bit bout feedin'at the public trough.

Anonymous said...

So, lets see if I've got this straight. Dr.Wright brings down buddy Dr. Porter.

Hires Porter as a consultant.
Renews Porter as a consultant.
Hires Porter's partner/employee as a consultant.
While a consultant, decides to hire Porter as an employee.
Has Porter set up application process for new job, interview himself, and hire himself.

Does he continue to get his consultant contract fee at the same time he gets his new salary?

Or, did they decide that there is just so much that you can get away with at DOE as to screwing the public and not double pay him? Realize that they have the never ending pot of money (its for the kids, you know) so they can hire more consultants, retired employees and create new employee positions?

Anonymous said...

As John Q. Porter was completing the 10-month long Broad Superintendents Academy training in November 2006, he was working as a deputy superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland (MCPS). In April 2007, he was hired to be the superintendent for Oklahoma City Public Schools. As he arrived in July to begin his work, he was quoted as saying, "You are really running a business," and "There are things that can be taken from business to run the school system."
Just seven months later, Porter was suspended amid accusations of financial mismanagement and poor job performance. He resigned from his OCPS position in March. This scandal resulted in MCPS discovering that Porter had engaged in questionable spending and financial practices (esp. conflict of interest) while he had been working there.

Porter now works for the for-profit EMO Mosaica Education, Inc., an Atlanta-based company recently described as running “…a global empire like a corporate giant from chic offices in Lenox Towers, overseeing classrooms from Atlanta to Abu Dhabi.” He is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Mosaica Turnaround Partners, “a new division that works with school districts across the country to improve underperforming schools

Anonymous said...

NEW CONCERN OVER EX-OFFICIAL'S SPENDING, March 11, 2008, The Washington Post

In 2006, while he was a deputy superintendent of Montgomery County schools, John Q. Porter spent $11,722 on travel, dining, gifts for co-workers and other items he submitted as business expenses, according to a review of his corporate American Express card for the calendar year.

That's almost twice as much as the $6,932 that his boss, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, submitted in the fiscal year that ended in June…

A successful entrepreneur, Porter was hired in 2000 as chief information officer and rose to deputy superintendent. In a June 2006 interview with District Administration, a magazine for school administrators, Porter confessed a weakness for fine dining -- "I try to find the top 10 in new cities I travel to" -- and fine things: "I like expensive clothes, expensive cars. I collect pens. I collect Rolex watches."…

A review of receipts from Porter and his staff employees in Montgomery reveals some large travel and dining expenses, although few have been challenged by education leaders here.

On June 5, 2006, Porter dined with his second-in-command, Executive Director Sherwin Collette, at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Bethesda for $597.08. The receipt, filed by Collette, does not indicate how many people were at the table or what was served. On May 8, the two men dined at Le Boeuf Angus, a steakhouse in Montreal. The tab: $300.99. Both were listed as business meals…

School system leaders maintain that Porter's service was unblemished when he left Maryland last year as a newly minted superintendent. Some of his activities have now come into question, however, by some school board members and community activists.

Most notable is Porter's involvement in Spectrum International, the document management company he founded in 1993. Porter remained owner of Spectrum after coming to work for Montgomery schools. He is still listed as its sole agent in state corporate records. Lately, community activists, parents and a weekly newspaper columnist have pressed for an investigation of Spectrum.

School system leaders say Porter assured them that he properly divested from active duty in the company, whose customers included school systems, when he went to work for Montgomery. But Porter was listed as the contact for the company as late as 2004 in a directory of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. Porter said yesterday that his name remained in some directories long after he gave up an active role in the company.

"That was completely inappropriate," Edwards said when asked about the listing. "Had we known about that, we would have taken appropriate action."

Anonymous said...


OKLAHOMA CITY -- An investigation into former Oklahoma City Superintendent John Q. Porter is not over, authorities confirmed.

The Oklahoma County District Attorney and police are looking into the 21 allegations against Porter. School board members called a special meeting on Wednesday and voted 6-1 to accept Porter's resignation.

The criminal investigation centers on allegations that Porter misused school district funds.

The board agreed to pay Porter more than $325,000. Officials said Porter will be paid more than $71,000 for his time through June 2008 as well as more than $255,000 from an Oklahoma City Public Schools foundation account…

Anonymous said...


After just seven months under a new superintendent, the Oklahoma City schools have been tossed into turmoil as school board members weigh whether to fire John Q. Porter, whom they hired unanimously for the post last spring.

Mr. Porter, a former deputy superintendent in charge of technology for the Montgomery County, Md., schools, is facing allegations that include improper billing of the Oklahoma district for some expenses, as well as complaints that he treated some district employees brusquely…

But within the first month of his arrival, three high-level administrators who had come from Memphis, Tenn., to work with Mr. Porter had resigned, signaling to some people that trouble was already brewing…

One of the complaints, listed as the first allegation in Mr. McCampbell’s report, is that Mr. Porter failed to use an open-bidding process before recommending that the school board approve a $365,000 contract with Wireless Generation to provide electronic reading assessments across the district. The devices were already in use in 11 Oklahoma City schools that are part of the federal Reading First program. The board approved the contract Sept. 4…

Anonymous said...


Montgomery County school officials, school board members and parent activists have been asking questions about John Q. Porter, a former deputy superintendent in Montgomery who is fighting for his job as superintendent in Oklahoma City.

Porter, 56, was suspended last week by the Oklahoma City school board. Board members there alleged a number of improprieties: that Porter arranged a $365,594 contract with a technology company without the customary competitive bid; that he had improperly sought reimbursement from the school system for personal, first-class airplane tickets to Washington; that he had been reimbursed for apparent alcohol purchases at pricey restaurants; and that he had asked employees to perform personal tasks at his home…

The questions begin with the company Porter came from when he joined the Montgomery school system as chief information officer in summer 2000.

Porter started a document management company, Spectrum International, in the county in 1993, according to state corporate records. Spectrum did work with several school systems, including Montgomery, in the 1990s, Porter said in a 2002 interview with The Gazette, a community newspaper.

It was through that relationship that Porter came to the county school system, Porter said, first as a consultant, then as chief information officer and, later, deputy superintendent.

The question now, with Porter under scrutiny, was whether he adequately divested himself from that company when he started his school system job…

Two other aspects of Porter's work in Montgomery also are being questioned as a result of the Oklahoma City investigation.

One is his relationship with a New York high-tech firm. Oklahoma City school board members alleged Porter last year arranged a contract with Wireless Generation that "was not, but should have been, open to competitive bidding." The contract provided diagnostic reading software to Oklahoma City schools.

Porter told the Oklahoman newspaper last week that the program was in the school system before he arrived. He and his attorney did not respond to interview requests from The Washington Post.

Porter had a relationship with Wireless Generation in Montgomery, where, in 2005, the school system and the company announced a partnership to develop software that allowed teachers to assess the reading skills of primary-grade students on hand-held computers. Montgomery schools paid some of the costs to develop the software and collected royalties when the product was sold elsewhere.

County Council member Marilyn Praisner (D-Eastern County), a former school board member, wrote two memos critical of the deal in 2005, focusing on the school system's failure to use a competitive bid…

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

All you have to do is Google this guys name to learn all this about him. The person responsible for hiring him has no excuse not to know his history. It took me all of 10 seconds. 5 bucks our state supe is getting a kick back.

David Congressional Testifier B. said...

AND to think Donner still spouts that the Jackson Fawning Press holds public officials accountable.

Anonymous said...

We alL knOw whO resides in AultMan's Ear.

Anonymous said...

Looks like somebody at MDE is auditioning to be the next Epps. Hopefully the next state purchase for MDE is a set of silver bracelets.

Anonymous said...

"Beware the industro-educational complex."

Anonymous said...

I would like to amend a prior comment: 100% of the state auditor's paycheck should be going to Jackson Jambalaya.

Anonymous said...

Just think how much these crooks could be raking in if we fully funded public education in MS.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the FBI should get involved. Circumstantially, Dr. Wright, who worked in Maryland in the education system, then D.C. comes to MS as superintendent and is paid more money than any other sup in the country?

Porter's checkered past and the questionable contracts....

And all of this seems to have been approved unanimously by the board. There are 2 reasons that something like this could occur. Incompetence or collusion.

PittPanther said...

8:17am, given that were talking about Mississippi, I assume incompetence.

Anonymous said...

How is it possible for this kind of scum to look at themselves in the mirror every morning? The whole bunch should be tarred and feathered.

Anonymous said...

@8:17 Incompetence is my vote. Having attended several Board Meetings and viewing the agenda and seeing all the attachments for board members to study, it is apparent that all they do is rubber stamp whatever Dr. Wright wants. It would be a full time position to review and understand the agenda items. FYI, I'm not at all advocating for full time board members. I view the State BOE as mini MS legislators. There are 1000's of bills filed that practically no one reads. Committee leaders toe the line with leadership to decide which bills see the light of day and even then those that do see the light of day don't get read by the legislators who ultimate vote on them. As a concerned parent, I've actually submitted comments to rule changes and have never heard a peep from anyone at MDE regarding concerns. It's like pulling eye teeth to get info from MDE even about what they keep on my own kids.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will about the State Auditor but does anyone think blogs like this one would vigorously pursue and prosecute all the small time crooks like Stacey does?

City clerks stealing sick time, expense account skimmers, mayors charging sex toys on city credit cards who really thinks JJ would go after them? (Well JJ might go after the mayors buying sex toys on city credit cards...)

Anonymous said...

Appears that Porter is just a snake-oil salesman and MS is just another stop on his journey to living the good life. Some guys screw people the old-fashioned way via Ponzi scheme. This guy does it in broad daylight at the public trough.

Anonymous said...

@11:45 AM is too stupid to realize they've just condemned Pickering.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

12:06: Still hoping to ride shotgun next time the Pickering campaign fund campaigns in Disneyworld with the rv.

Kingfish said...

Pender mentioned this post in his story. Anyone think the rest of the media will dive into this one?

Anonymous said...

Guessing none of this gets discussed at the Gullible Student/Parent pizza party.

Anonymous said...

The bigger problem to me is the assessment guy who has a current six figure plus contract with an outside agency. Yes, it is technically legal to consult, but that kind of contract isn't a day or two of PD at an out of state school. District level admins get beat up over their salaries which are half his and there is no way they could take advantage of that kind of consulting because most evenings and weekends they are tied to their school commitments. They are either attending sporting, or academic events, or working on reports for this guy. When you are getting paid 150,000 a year your extra time is MDE's. Those aren't 9-5 jobs in the district office, so they sure shouldn't be at MDE.

Kingfish said...

Has Barksdale Today reported any of this?

Anonymous said...

Their Mission Statement is as much puffery as Donner's.

Kingfish said...

Aultman was sponsored by Gutless Gunn.

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